Business PR Strategy

Does PR and the Media Have a Conscience?

Posted by Deborah | May 7th, 2015 | No responses


Once again, today’s headlines are full of stats about overweight Brits and the worrying issue of an obesity epidemic.

According to the World Health Organisation, nearly a quarter of children under five are overweight here in the UK….and the signs are there to suggest it’s going to continue worsening.

Inevitably, one of the finger-pointing reactions to this is to look at the way we in the marketing world are promoting exactly the kinds of products which could be seen to contribute to weight increases among youngsters.

Of course, at the other end of the spectrum, there’s another disturbing catalogue of stats and facts getting touted around when it comes to weight issues and young people.

Yes, while we have unprecedented levels of obesity, we also have record levels of admissions for eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

And, this week, a research study revealed girls as young as six are so unhappy with their bodies that they’re starting out on that slippery journey of diets and the quest for weight loss.

So guess which sector gets mentioned again in the midst of this issue for helping to ‘perpetuate’ the problem?
Yes, you guessed it.

Media and marketing is again there in the mix, being cited as at least one part of the problem.

The reality surely, is that no one factor can be levied as the cause for something as massive as an obesity epidemic or an eating disorder / self-harm explosion.

But there is, without question, an undeniable truism that marketing of brands, products, services and ‘ideals’ is playing a role in affecting the way society looks and feels.

It stands to reason then, that we in the positions of potential influence, as creators of marketing dialogue, should consider what conscience we have around our delivery.

I’m not saying we should all refuse to tackle communications briefs for indulgent food brands, nor that we should refuse to ever use a stunning slim female in a promotional initiative – just that we should do our bit to consider the role we have and how our activity plays out to our audience.

Likewise, I think it’s worth remembering that for all the marketing world may take on the chin in terms of being blamed or criticised over contributions to the likes of obesity issues, the sector has also done HUGE good in recent years in terms of encouraging sport uptake and healthier lifestyles.

One brand, agency or strategist adopting a ‘communicate with conscience’ approach mightn’t change the nation’s weight and health overnight, but together, we will play a far healthier part in ensuring our marketing expertise is used to best effect for all.


How to ensure you’re communicating with conscience:



Consider the audience critically: Look at who you’re most hoping to reach, but also those you may reach as a consequence of your activity. Does your delivery need to be adjusted with this in mind.


Could you be taking more advice?: Never be afraid to ask the right channels if you’re in doubt as to the impact of your strategy. Is there an organisation whose input could be valuable?


What delivery method are you using?: Maintaining a conscience in your communication can be about ensuring the right medium for the right purpose. Have you chosen the right one for this particular brief?


Show your conscience with pride: If you’re a brand who wants to show its integrity proudly, why not talk about alliances with causes who you feel are key to your strategic thinking?



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